Clocktower - Archaeology
Statement of SignificanceThe site has historical associations with the first hospital, falling within the hospital garden area and also with the Ragged School which stood here. The site also has historical associations with early land development and settlement in The Rocks area.The site is associated with the Playfair family and their meatworks.The remaining walls of the Playfair meatworks in the basement on the Cambridge St side of the site are a standing archaeological structure and as such have research significance. Other archaeological remains could be extant beneath the historic buildings.
Landscape - Cultural
Construction Years: 0 - 0
Physical Description: Archaeological remains may be extant below the remaining historic buildings. Part of the walls from the c1916 Playfair factory remain in situ in the basement on the Cambridge St site in the carpark.No archaeolgocial remains are expected below the Clocktower building itself as when this development occurred the bulk excavation was monitored.
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The subject site appears to have fallen within the bounds of the garden for the hospital set up in 1788. The hospital grounds extended from just north of Argyle St to Globe St and the garden was behind this to the west. In Meehan's survey in 1807 it appears that Cambridge St had been established, but the bulk of the study site was still contained within the garden precinct. In 1810 Governor Macquarie decided to regularise the streets and in October 1810 he announced the formation of four new streets; Gloucester, Argyle, Harrington and Elizabeth. By 1822, and probably before this date, building activity had already commenced in this area.Harrington St was proclaimed in 1810, and although there is no documentary evidence for the built environment on this frontage until 1822, it is possible that after the removal of the hospital, development proceeded in the former hospital garden area. By 1822 there were at least ten buildings on the current area of 35-53 Harrington St, some building activity on 61-65 Harrington St, and substantial buildings on 71-75 Harrington St.By the 1830s the majority of this street frontage on the subject site had been developed. The street continued to be fully developed throughout the nineteenth century. The Sands directory listings for the western side of the street during this century indicate that it contained a mixture of both residential and commercial premises including boarding houses, a hotel and, later in the century a Ragged School.Photographs and directories of the later nineteenth century show a mixture of one and two storey buildings of timber, stone and brick, their yards facing the centre of the block. Throughout the nineteenth century four buildings primarily occupied the subject site. On the corner of Harrington and Argyle Sts was a small two room timber house with a shingled roof and small yard behind. This was built prior to 1835 and demolished c1885, the site remained vacant although used by the adjoining cooperage, until it was purchased by Thomas Playfair Pty Ltd. Next to the two roomed house stood a single store two roomed brick house with a slate roof, in 1863 it was described as old and dilapidated with stables and outbuildings to the rear, by 1902 it was being used as a cooperage. There is no record for the date of demolition, in 1918 it became part of the meatworks site.The third structure on the site was built prior to 1822 and described in 1845 as a two storey stone house, shingled with eight rooms. It was surrounded on the south and west by a yard. The building was still intact in the early years of the twentieth but there is no record of its demolition. The site was also incorporated into the meatworks. The remaining structure was known as the 'Ragged School' , there is no exact date for either the construction of the building or commencement of the school, although it is not listed in the Sands Directory for 1870, but does appear in 1877. The later history of the school is unknown although it may have been demolished as part of the plague resumptions.The Playfair meatworks and offices covered the site, built between 1918 and 1942 it operated until 1971. In 1975 there was a fire in the factory and the site was turned into a carpark until the Clocktower development commenced in 1987.Bulk excavation during the 1987 development was monitored, however there is no plan to depict exactly where was monitored, and therefore besides the extant wall remains in the basement, the only archaeological remains expected to survive are under the historic buildings still extant.
Historical significance: The site has historical associations with the first hospital, falling within the hospital garden area and also with the Ragged School which stood here. The site also has historical associations with early land development and settlement in The Rocks area.
Historical association: The site is associated with the Playfair family and their meatworks.
Research significance: The remaining walls of the Playfair meatworks in the basement on the Cambridge St side of the site are a standing archaeological structure and as such have research significance.
Intact assessment: Mostly disturbed beneath the Clocktower building itself.Archaeological remains are beneath the historic buildings and the walls of the Playfair Meatworks remain as a standing archaeological feature in the Cambridge St carpark.
Physical condition: Assessment Condition: Mostly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Destroyed by recent excavation into bedrock, except for historic buildings which may hold archaeological remains and the remains of the walls from the Playfair's Meatworks remain in situ in the Cambridge St carpark. Investigation: Historical research and assessment of archaeology, bulk excavation monitored during Clocktower development
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Written||EIS - Proposed Development of the Clock Tower Site, The Rocks.|
|Written||Higginbotham, Kass & Walker||1991||The Rocks and Millers Point Archaeological Management Plan|
|Written||Thorp, W.||1985||Historical Outline and Archaeological Assessment of the Clock Tower Site, Harrington and Argyle Streets, Sydney in Planning Workshop,|